Seasons greetings from all of us at the Asian Film Archive!
This last edition of the digest for 2020 is chock-full of online and hybrid film festivals such as True Colours Film Festival, Cartoons Underground,and Forum Film Dokumenter, to name a few. Freshly-commissioned work by Apichatpong Weerasethakul and SAthecollective make their premieres, as well as the launch of a brand new grant aimed at supporting Southeast Asian short filmmakers.
We look forward to continually sharing interesting and stimulating Asian cinema content in the upcoming year!
Chinese director Gao Ming’s debut narrative feature about love and loss in Shenzhen, Damp Season (2020) makes its Singapore premiere at Oldham Theatre from 12-27 December 2020.
A classic of New Taiwanese Cinema, Ko I-Cheng’s romantic comedy Blue Moon (1997) is a 5-part film that can be screened in any order. With 120 unique narrative possibilities, no two screenings will be alike. Oldham Theatre will be screening the Southeast Asian premiere of the restored version from 11 December 2020 – 3 January 2021.
Monographs 2020: Written Essays
With the Monographs video essays having made their debut recently, AFA is now proud to present the first of ten written essays that were also commissioned as part of the project. Kicking off this fortnightly series is a piece by filmmaker Amir Muhammad that looks into amateur horror filmmaking during lockdown in Malaysia.
Presented by The Nippon Foundation, this online film festival offers a selection of features, shorts and dialogues that reflects the theme: One World, One Family. Films are available to view for free in Asia Pacific countries from 3-12 December 2020.
A long-running showcase of contemporary and classic Japanese cinema in Singapore, from 10-12 December 2020, the programme will adopt a hybrid approach, with online and physical screenings.
Now in its 8th edition, this annual animation festival from Singapore features an international line-up with a special focus on local and regional works. It will take place fully online from 9-15 December 2020.
Organised by the Freedom Film Network in Malaysia, this international human rights documentary festival embarks on its first-ever digital edition from 10-13 December 2020 under the theme: “RACE : HUMAN”.
A new online initiative by Dharamshala International Film Festival (DIFF) and Drung Tibetan Filmmakers Collective, showcasing films made by exiled Tibetan filmmakers will be available on VOD, from 3-13 December 2020.
Taking place annually since 2002, this Yogyjakarta-based platform is Southeast Asia’s first and longest-running documentary film festival. Films are available to view online from 25 November – 14 December 2020 in selected regional territories.
A not-for-profit leftist group of cinephiles based in India, Potato Eaters hosts a growing selection of rare and newly-restored feature films for free along with other shorts, documentaries and interviews.
A digital programme and platform encouraging meaningful cultural exchange and forging enduring partnerships between the UK and Hong Kong’s visual arts sectors, the website currently hosts recordings of panel discussions as well as new and existing visual art and video works by artists from both regions.
A newly-created commission for Vancouver-based gallery The Polygon, this short film is a poignant response to this time of global crisis, and is accompanied by Apitchatpong’s writing.
French-Korean artist and filmmaker, Yoon Sung-A innovatively observes a training centre in the Philippines for domestic workers. Screening exclusively on MUBI from 25 November – 24 December 2020, an introduction by the filmmaker is also available as a companion piece.
A debut feature by Bengali filmmaker Ronny Sen, Cat Sticks offers a bleak yet stunning portrait of drug addiction in Kolkata.
A new commission by the Singapore International Festival of Arts, this interdisciplinary collaborative work brings together movement, music and the moving image, inspired by SAMSARA, the latest album by SAthecollective. Viewable online for free with registration from 18-20 December 2020.
A video essay exploring the fragile passage of time through the shifting textures of Lee Kang-sheng’s face in the films of Tsai Ming-Liang.
Part of the film programme Speaking / Thinking Nearby, accompanying the exhibition, Trinh T. Minh-ha. Films. by NTU CCA Singapore, this online screening of Trinh T. Minh-ha’s 1985 ethnographic documentary film takes place from 29 November – 10 December 2020.
Hosted by IJTS (International Journal of Taiwan Studies) in collaboration with EATS (European Association of Taiwan Studies) and NATSA (North American Taiwan Studies Association), this online talk is the fourth in a series called The Future of Taiwan Studies in the post-COVID World.
An hour-long mixtape of soundtrack moments and audio excerpts from the films of Satoshi Kon.
Recently screened in-competition at the recent Singapore International Film Festival, Thai artist-filmmaker Tulapop Saenjaroen’s homage and reenvisioning of silent German film Menschen am Sonntag (1930), is the subject of this feature article.
Part of a series that seeks to find an essence of cinema history in a single image of a movie, this column touches on Tsai Ming-liang’s rhythmic portrait of urban malaise in his 1997 film The River .
A recap of the Objectifs Film Club session featuring Thai filmmaker Sorayos “Yossy” Prapapan discussing his short film Death of the Sound Man with Singaporean sound designer and foley artist Tingli Lim.
A dark dive into two of Shinya Tsukamoto’s most compassionate films: Vital and A Snake of June.
An academic essay on space and movement in Ozu Yasujiro’s 1949 film.
Writer Ryu Spaeth reflects on the “extraordinarily heroic and thoroughly ordinary” female lead characters in Miyazaki’s films.
A personal essay that looks back at the career of Bollywood playback singer Asha Bhosle in the context of today’s culture and politics.
A tribute to the renowned Bengali actor, director, playwright, essayist, and poet who passed away recently at the age of 85.
Pop Music in Film
Launched by Momo Film Co. in partnership with C47 Investment the grant aims to meet the gap in the short film distribution landscape and support emerging filmmakers from Southeast Asia. Applications open from 1 January 2021.